Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
Harbor porpoises can be found in cold waters throughout the Northern Hemisphere and occur in coastal waters no deeper than 300 meters. Harbor porpoises are the smallest porpoise in the Pacific Northwest and the average adult is 5 feet in length and weighs a maximum of 150 pounds. These porpoise are gray on their dorsal side and have a white ventral side or belly, but gray pectoral fins. They also have a triangle shaped dorsal fin which is uniform dark gray too. These porpoise prey upon small schooling fish such as herring, mackerel, or smelt. A good feeding ground can attract hundreds of harbor porpoises. They become sexually mature at 3-5 years and they breed in the summer months. Most harbor porpoises have a life span of 10-13 years. Their gestation is approximately 10-11 months and lactation lasts approximately 8 months. Harbor Porpoise are considered to be shy. They generally avoid moving vessels and do not bow ride or perform acrobatics. They can be found in groups of 2-10 animals and prefer shallow coastal waters.
Strandings: The Working Group for Unusual Marine Mammal Mortality Events has declared an unusual mortality event for harbor porpoises in Washington and Oregon State for 2006. This is due to an increased number in strandings and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of these strandings.
To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call: 1-800-853-1964